Review: Chef Mickey’s Dinner at Disney World’s Contemporary Resort

It has been too long since I’ve taken a trip to Chef Mickey’s in Disney World’s Contemporary Resort!

We’ve shared with you our review of their breakfast buffet. But today, we’re heading there to see what’s new for dinner!

When many people think about a Disney character dining experience”, they immediately think of Chef Mickey’s. This one has it all — the Fab Five, a sprawling buffet of family-friendly foods, regular raucous celebrations, and monorails whizzing by.

But in the past, the food has had a reputation for being a little lackluster. Time to see how things are looking these days… . We have a lot to cover, so let’s get started!

Atmosphere

One of the coolest things about Chef Mickey’s is its location. You’ll find this well-known character meal at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Chef Mickey's Sign

This place is a stone’s throw from the Magic Kingdom in Disney World, which makes it a great place to stop and eat before heading into the park, or after a long day of rides and attractions.

Once you enter the hotel’s main floor lobby, take the elevator to the fourth floor. Chef Mickey’s is located on the south end of the concourse, right below where the Disney World monorail enters the building. (You can also arrive at the Contemporary via said monorail, of course — in which case you’d take an escalator down to the 4th floor).

The Grand Canyon Concourse at the Contemporary

Head to the central desk to let the hostess know that your party has arrived. You can’t miss it — Mickey is smiling down with his fork and spoon, ready to greet you!

Central Desk Check-In

If your table isn’t quite ready, you can wait until your party is paged in this comfortable seating area. This spot features a view of Bay Lake and the resort’s pool patio — and offers plenty of room for running off excess energy.

Waiting Area

Before you’re seated, your party will [Read more…]

Review: Create Your Own Pasta at Art of Animation’s Landscape of Flavors

My recent visit to Disney’s Art of Animation Resort left me with tons to tell you about! The Landscape of Flavors food court has seriously taken over as one of my favorite Disney counter service spots.

Erin told you about the Create-Your-Own-Pasta station here when the resort first opened, but I could not wait to try it for myself!

Create Your Own Pasta Menu Board -- Click to Enlarge

There are dozens of combinations available here! Seriously, tons of pastas, veggies, sauces, meats, and mix-ins to choose from. Even though this list is subject to change, here are just a few of the options you might have on your visit…

Pasta customization options.

But if you’re feeling like leaving the creativity to the professionals, no worries. You won’t go wrong by choosing from one of the Chef’s Suggestions.

Chef Suggestions, In Case You Need Some Ideas!

But don’t forget to take a gander at the customization options just in case something catches your eye!

Add-Ins for Create-Your-Own-Pasta

What’s great about the create-your-own pasta station — and most of the other stations at Landscape of Flavors — is the “freshness” of it all. No frozen spinach here. Butters, sauces, and vegetables are all fresh, and [Read more…]

Guest Review: New Earl of Sandwich Macaroni and Cheese!

Welcome DFB guest author Jenna G. as she tells us all about the brand new Winter Special at Earl of Sandwich in Disney World’s Downtown Disney — Mac and Cheese!

For those of us braving the wintry weather in most of the country, there are some new cozy comfort foods at Earl of Sandwich that may make us all feel better!

Check out these Earl of Sandwich Winter Time Specials, available for a limited time only.

We tried the macaroni and cheese, which was medium in size and was a sharable snack between two.

Winter Time Specials -- Get 'Em While You Can!

As a connoisseur of great Walt Disney World macaroni and cheese (my favorite being the Truffle Mac & Cheese from Yachtsman Steakhouse) I will say that this wasn’t the best mac ‘n’ cheese. But I can easily see it being a favorite with children.

Macaroni and Cheese

For the price of $3.99, it provides great value and [Read more…]

Review: Rainforest Cafe a la Disney

Welp, I finally got a chance to have another meal at Rainforest Cafe!

These restaurants often get a bad rap food-wise. While this is a really fun place to shop and explore, a lot of people wonder how good the food can actually be in such a themed restaurant. (Disney meals are precious and expensive things, and I hate to waste even one!)

But I hadn’t been to an RC for a while, and it was time to head back into the jungle! Come with me and find out how it was…

Atmosphere

This is a review of the Rainforest Cafe located in Downtown Disney District at Disneyland. However, the Disney Rainforest locations (one in Disneyland, two in Disney World) are actually quite similar.

The menus themselves — and many of the decor elements — are the same, so keep that in mind if you are only planning to visit one of the two Disney World locations.

Outside Sign - Close Up

One main difference: each location has a slightly different exterior. This Disneyland eatery has a sort of temple-in-the-jungle feeling to it.

Rainforest Cafe - Outside

As you walk in, you find yourself in a very large gift shop with all manner of [Read more…]

First Look! Epcot’s Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar to Open in Early May

Tutto Gusto, a new wine bar that will be adjacent to Tutto Italia Ristorante, is set to open in early May as part of the restaurant’s recent refurbishment.

We can’t wait to add this location to our Drinking Around the World itinerary!

Nestled next to Tutto Italia Ristorante in Epcot’s Italy pavilion, Tutto Gusto will feature a cozy 96-seat space located in the former lobby space and extending toward Via Napoli.

Atmosphere

The new wine bar will take over Tutto Italia’s former lobby space. Stone walls and floors, vaulted ceilings, and a fireplace will create the atmosphere of an Italian wine cellar.

The soon-to-be-hot-spot will be open to patrons from 11:30AM to 9PM to enjoy over 200 Italian wines and what sounds like an amazing selection of small plates and appetizers.

Gusto Wine Cellar

Eats

According to the DisneyParks Blog, this venue will be part of the Disney Dining Plan. We’re not sure yet if it will be considered a one-credit or two-credit location, but either way, this will make Italy the only pavilion with [Read more…]

Raglan Road News! St. Patrick’s Day, Gluten Free Food, and More…

Downtown Disney’s Raglan Road has announced Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day events. There also new gluten-free items on the menu and a fun, professional photo opportunity!

Gluten Free Eats

Raglan Road has added gluten-free dishes to their menu including Scallops, Fish & Chips, and Calamari & Pasta. To create a light and crisp batter that is also delicious, the culinary team devised a gluten fee batter mix made with Champagne and garbanzo flour!

Gluten Free Fish and Chips

Raglan Road invites all guests with a special diet to talk to a server about menu items that are available for modification to meet various nutritional needs.

Valentine’s Day

Head over to Raglan Road’s Facebook page (I’m a fan!!) and become a fan to be entered to win a [Read more…]

New Menu Details! Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Thanks to Pam Brandon over at the Disney Parks Blog, we have even more details on the new Landscape of Flavors food court (which seems to have undergone a name change since we last reported!) opening this summer with Disney’s Art of Animation Resort!

Landscape of Flavors Concept Art -- Disneys Art of Animation Resort

Dining Concept

According to Disney Parks and Resorts Director of Food & Beverage Concept Development, Chef Ed Wronski, the focus of this new type of food court is customization. Guests will be able to “make your own” and choose from a variety of options more often in this spot.

Start planning now how you want to create your gelato sundae, smoothies, omelet, pasta, salad, sandwich, and more! There will also be a focus on “better-for-you” options in this location, so perhaps going of your diet won’t be as much of a temptation here! (Wait a minute…who are we kidding? They’ll still have Mickey Bars won’t they?)

Individual Menu Items

Like the other value and moderate resorts, this food court will still be a regular old food court in that it will have five “shops,” each themed to a particular type of food.

Soup-Salad-Sandwich Shop

Guest Review: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall Dinner

Welcome James Hummel with a review of the Storybook dinner at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot’s Norway!

Having now traveled to Walt Disney World twice with our 4-year-old niece, we decided that it was time she experience dining with her favorite princess characters. We wanted to experience a new restaurant at the same time, and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (a.k.a. Princess Nirvana) was the hands-down winner.

Atmosphere

Akershus is located in the Norway pavilion in EPCOT. The design of the restaurant reminded me of a European castle banquet hall. The entrance room is decorated with medieval style wooden chairs fit for Princes and Princesses.

Entrance Hall

Upon entering Akershus, you are welcomed by a Princess; our hostess for our meal was Belle. All guests had the chance to take a picture with Belle. Later in the meal, a Cast Member presents you with a package of your picture with the princess AT NO EXTRA COST! This was a pleasant surprise, as with most other character dining restaurants the pictures are an extra charge.

Belle and her fan

During the meal, there is a princess and prince parade. The Host Princesses ask the little princesses and princes to get up and walk around the room. Since many of the little princesses are dressed in their finest, this gives them the opportunity to show of their dresses.

Our niece loved the experience. She was able to meet [Read more…]

Review: Disneyland’s Plaza Inn (Fried Chicken!)

One of Disneyland’s most coveted meals is the fantastic fried chicken at the Plaza Inn on the corner of Main Street and Tomorrowland!

Atmosphere

While this location is a table-service character buffet (serving Breakfast With Minnie and Friends) in the morning, it switches to a counter service buffet in the afternoon and evening.

entrance sign

Plaza Inn entrance

Guests are greeted at the door by a large buffet and an ornate dining room full of velvet curtains, crystal chandeliers, and the kind of opulence you’re not used to seeing at a [Read more…]

Guest Review: Coronado Springs Resort’s Pepper Market

Bill Iadonisi returns with a colorful and impressive review of the Pepper Market at the Coronado Springs Resort. Take it away, Bill!

When guests vacation to Walt Disney World, they are looking forward to going on their favorite attractions, seeing World-Class shows and entertainment, and of course meeting the Disney Characters. A trip to Disney is an exciting adventure for all. But for many, the rides and attractions are just the tip of the iceberg.

I know that for myself, dining at Disney is a whole world of fun! With menu options from around the world and a huge diversity of food choices, the dining scene is a theme park unto itself.

Welcome!

While most guests hanker to dine in the parks, the resort venues are just as impressive. We know the classic restaurants such as Citricos, the California Grill and Jiko, but the resorts are also home to some of Walt Disney World’s “sleeper” restaurants.

These eateries are hidden gems with mostly low crowds, fantastic menus and easy access. Many times when the parks are booked, you can usually walk right in or have just a short wait before dining. Some of my favorites are the Kona Café and the Captain’s Grille. And here we will review; Coronado Springs Resort’s Pepper Market restaurant.

Atmosphere and Ordering Process

Pepper Market is an open food court located in the main building area of Coronado Springs Resort, called “El Centro.” It is a counter-service restaurant, although your drinks are brought to the table by a server.

But what makes this eatery special is its extensive menu and expansive dining area. Even during crowded times, you can usually find a table. It is themed after a south of the border-feel marketplace. Huge and airy, it is also very colorful, bright and gives the feeling of space versus claustrophobia — something we love in Disney restaurants.

Dining Area

As you make your way to the entrance, (next to Coronado’s table-service restaurant, the Maya Grill) you walk on terracotta tiles and past wrought iron fences adorned with green plants. Everything is vibrant and very colorful. It puts a smile on your face before you are even seated. At the entrance is a [Read more…]